NKOTB's Bad Boy
"That's why I can't do music right now. I'm not inspired musically right now, so why should I screw around? I'm very inspired to act and do movies right now and 50 percent effort in acting is not going to cut it." Donnie Wahlberg
Hurled toward stardom as the ''bad boy'' member of the popular 1980s and 1990s boy band ''New Kids on the Block'' (aka NKOTB), Donnie Wahlberg, the older brother of fellow musician-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg, branched out into acting following the breakup of his phenomenal group in 1994. He made his film debut alongside Mickey Rourke and late rap artist Tupac Shakur in the action/crime/drama "Bullet" (1996) and has since starred in "Ransom" (1996), "Southie" (1998), "The Sixth Sense" (1999), "Diamond Men" (2000), "Dreamcatcher" (2003), "Annapolis" (2006), "Dead Silence" (2007), and 2 of the "Saw" films (2005; 2007; as Eric Matthews). He will next be seen alongside Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson in "Righteous Kill," an upcoming suspense film by director Jon Avnet.
TV viewers could catch him in the TV movie "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1998), the acclaimed miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001), as well as the TV series "Big Apple," "Boomtown," "Runaway" and "The Kill Point."
Donnie is married and has two sons.
Donnie D, Cheese
Childhood and Family:
On August 17, 1969, Donald Edmond Wahlberg was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a Swedish/Irish-Catholic family. His father, Donald Edward Wahlberg, was a teamster who worked as a delivery driver, and his mother, Alma Elaine Donnelly, was a bank clerk and nurse's aid. They divorced in 1982. Donnie's paternal grandfather was of Swedish descent, while the majority of his other ancestors are Irish.
One of nine children of the family, Donnie, nicknamed ''Donnie D'' or ''Cheese,'' has five older siblings: Arthur, Jim (served time in prison for armed robbery), Paul, Robert (actor; born on December 18, 1967), and Tracey, and three younger siblings: Debbie, Michelle, and Mark (Academy Award-nominated actor; born on June 5, 1971). When asked if he talks business with Mark, Donnie replied, ''Very rarely do we discuss anything like that. It’s 'Hey, how you doing? How’s the kids?’''
Donnie is also a distant relative of pop queen Madonna and Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry and the nephew of John Hathorn (1641-1717), a judge in the Salem Witch trials.
In April 1991, Donnie had a brush with the law when he was busted and charged with first-degree arson. Apparently, he was trying to set a Kentucky hotel hallway on fire. The charges were later lowered then dropped because he agreed to do public service commercials.
On August 20, 1999, Donnie married Kim Fey, a singer he met when she did session work for ''Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.'' They have two sons, Xavier Alexander Wahlberg (born on March 4, 1993) and Elijah Hendrix Wahlberg (born on August 20, 2001).
Donnie is a Boston Celtics fan and his favorite book is ''The Chocolate War'' by Robert Cormier. In addition to his career in acting and music, Donnie also owns a restaurant in Canton, Massachusetts.
Having developed an interest in music at an early age, Donnie Wahlberg joined his first band, a local group called ''Risk,'' at age ten. A few years later, he joined an R&B-styled group called ''The Kool Aid Bunch,'' which also featured singer Danny Wood.
His big break would come in 1984 when producer and entrepreneur Maurice Starr recruited him, alongside Wood, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, and Joey McIntyre, in his new boy band, ''New Kids on the Block,'' which was originally called ''Nynuk.'' His brother Mark initially joined the group too, but he left within six months and did not appear on any released recordings.
With ''New Kids on the Block,'' Donnie's name was launched to worldwide fame as their albums went on to sell over 70 million copies internationally. The group undertook extensive promotional world tours, won millions of avid fans and paved the way for acts like ''Backstreet Boys'' and ''*NSYNC.'' Meanwhile, Donnie, who had a ''bad boy'' persona in the band, also established himself as one of the musical forces behind ''New Kids on the Block,'' helping to write and produce material for the group, and going on to produce recordings for other artists, most notably ''Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch,'' featuring his brother Mark Wahlberg.
After “New Kids on the Block” made a failed comeback attempt with the album "Face the Music" (1994), the band broke up and Wahlberg continued to work in music as a songwriter and producer. He soon set his sights on a career in acting and made his feature acting debut in director Julien Temple's action crime drama "Bullet" with Mickey Rourke and late rap artist Tupac Shakur. The film was deemed too bad to release, but was eventually given life after the surging rise of interest following Tupac's shooting death in September of 1996.
Also that year, Donnie had a supporting role as one of the kidnappers in Ron Howard's remake of the 1956 film, "Ransom," starring Mel Gibson. He then appeared in writer/director Matthew Carnahan's independent drama/thriller film "Black Circle Boys" (1997; starring Scott Bairstow and Eric Mabius), about an underworld society of gothic groupies whose primary interests are creating mayhem and studying the Occult, and had a featured role alongside David Caruso, John Leguizamo, Forest Whitaker and Ving Rhames in Robert Patton-Spruill's crime drama "Body Count" (1998).
In 1998, Donnie played the lead role of Danny Quinn, a South Boston Irish bad boy who returns back home from New York, opposite Rose McGowan, in John Shea's directorial debut, the independent gangster drama "Southie.” On his lead role in the film, Donnie later said in an interview, "Sure, I could relate to the character and I was familiar with a lot of what he was experiencing, but that doesn't make it easy to show up and do it. Playing something close to yourself can sometimes be more difficult than playing something that's not."
Donnie subsequently played loose cannon Mr. Gray in the ABC remake of the classic 1974 hostage film that was based on John Godey's thriller novel, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1998; with Edward James Olmos and Vincent D'Onofrio), and starred with Ernie Hudson and Nia Long in writer/director Peter Gathings Bunche's music-industry set mystery thriller "Butter" (1998). He also co-starred as Deputy Glen/Billy The Kid, opposite Sam Shepard, Eric Roberts and Peter Stormare, in the TNT Western "Purgatory" (1999) and had a pivotal cameo role as a disturbed, nearly naked man named Vincent Grey, a former patient Bruce Willis' character treated as a child for his hallucinations, in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's Academy Award-nominated psychological horror "The Sixth Sense" (1999).
On his performance in "The Sixth Sense" (1999) and changing his focus from music to acting, Donnie explained, "It's a highly, highly emotional two minutes of fireworks. I suffered for like five weeks to get ready for it, for one day of work and it was all worth it because I wasn't me. The commitment just reconfirmed what I can do when I focus and commit myself 100 percent. I'm hoping that the movie will say: 'This kid is an actor. He's not just a performer.'''
Entering the new millennium, Donnie acted with Willem Dafoe, Michelle Forbes and Olivier Martinez in Rune Bendixen's independent Western comedy film "Bullfighter." Afterward, he portrayed 2nd Lt. C. Carwood Lipton in the HBO acclaimed 10-part television miniseries set during World War II that was co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, "Band of Brothers" (2001), and had a regular role as Chris Scott on the CBS short-lived cop drama TV series "Big Apple" (2001). He also starred opposite Robert Forster in writer/director Dan Cohen's independent crime drama feature "Diamond Men," which was screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October 2000 and was released to select theatres in the U.S. on September 14, 2001, to sparkling reviews.
From 2002 to 2003, Donnie played Joel Stevens, an intense Los Angeles police detective, in the NBC action/drama series "Boomtown." When the show ended, he returned to the big screen as the mentally challenged Duddits in Goldman and Lawrence Kasdan's adaptation of the Stephen King alien-invasion thriller, "Dreamcatcher" (2003). He also co-starred as Detective Eric Matthews in the horror sequel "Saw II" (2005) and later reprised his role in its fourth installment, "Saw IV" (2007).
"I think he's a selfish person. He's the type of person who's incapable of concerning himself with other people's feelings, including his son's. In his mind, he probably has bigger issues. As we discover, he's not the most ethical person in the world. It all makes sense if you think about the first movie and what Jigsaw's mode is; what his MO is. This is a guy who doesn't really care anymore and he's kinda mailing it in. It's no mistake that he's brought into this case. It's by design and I think Jigsaw probably knew that this guy wouldn't want to get involved in the case and that's why he singled him out." Donnie Wahlberg (on his character in ''Saw'' films)
Donnie also starred in the Disney boxing drama "Annapolis" (2006; starring James Franco and Tyrese Gibson), directed by Justin Lin, and in James Wan's horror film "Dead Silence" (2007). He was then cast as Paul Rader on the CW's drama series "Runaway," and as Captain Horst Cali, an experienced police negotiator dealing with a bank holdup, on Spike TV's crime drama series "The Kill Point" (2007).
About his role in "The Kill Point" (2007), Donnie revealed, "I did a lot of research for this guy because it was a different type of cop. It was a negotiator, which I’ve never done, so I worked with a guy named Jack Cambria from the NYPD hostage negotiation team. He’s the best. He’s one of the best guys in the country. He trains everyone. They use his methods everywhere."
Donnie will provide his voice, alongside Timothy Olyphant, Powers Boothe, Ron Perlman and William Fichtner, for the video game ''Turok,'' slated for launch by Disney on February 5, 2008. He is currently filming "Righteous Kill," an upcoming suspense film by director Jon Avnet that will also star Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.
"It’s just my goal is not to be a superstar. My goal is to be super at what I do." Donnie Wahlberg